Towards the end of 2014 I began what was our biggest mission to date. Let me start at the beginning.
After watching the amazing series that is Charly's Bakery - the infamous Charly's Bakery in Cape Town, South Africa - I got in touch with them wanting to be part of the massive toy drive collection they do every year for the Red Cross Children's Hospital in their home town of Cape Town. I was so excited, and starstruck, when they replied to my tweets and Capes for Cape Town mission began.
After chatting with David, who is the Executive Director of The Friends of the Children’s Hospital Association and we decided on 450 capes. Enough for the little heroes that will be in hospital during my visit with some left over for future heroes being admitted to hospital.
The Red Cross Children's hospital is the largest, stand alone tertiary hospital dedicated entirely to child healthcare in Southern Africa. The Trust is an independent, non-profit organisation that relies on the benevolence of donors to realise its aims. Since its inception the Trust has supported the Hospital through upgrading its buildings, purchasing vital equipment and funding critical training and research programmes.
450 capes was a huge undertaking. But thanks to a lot of Super Sewers out there and the very generous donations of fabric, and a special thank you to a very good friend of mine, we spent countless hours cutting, sewing and packing the capes. But we made it, we completed our mission, and thanks to a very kind donation of Emirates Airmiles, I was able to travel to South Africa with the capes.
Visiting the hospital was such an amazing experience. To see first hand the amazing, tireless and sometimes thankless work all the staff, volunteers and trust workers do. I had the pleasure to meet some volunteers who are there everyday helping the amazing nurses and doctors. The day that I was there was their annual Christmas Party. There were real Superheros climbing down the side of the hospital, presents being handed out. The local Police and Fire Brigade there and we were their with their special capes. It was such a fun, amazing day, a day to remind the children that among all the medical talk, doctors and tests, that they are children and deserve a break to be children.
I got to personally meet a lot of such brave, amazing little heroes. It was an early Christmas for them to receive a little package with a cape. I was humbled to talk to some of the parents who sit tirelessly every day with their little heroes, supporting them, keeping their spirits up. It was an experience I will never, ever forget and I am so grateful to have been able to work with them.